I went to Butler High School's football opener in Winston-Salem Friday night against Mount Tabor. I love high school football, but rarely travel out of the Charlotte area to see it.
I made an exception this time because Butler -- the defending state champs in the biggest-school category -- has been involved in so much controversy this offseason.
Was glad I did. Here's the column that resulted on Riley Ferguson, the sophomore quarterback who has replaced All-American Christian LeMay as Butler's starter.
I knew Ferguson was good, having talked to Coach Mike Newsome about him. What I didn't know was how good his older brother Zach -- a junior, and Riley's elder by 19 months -- was. (Here's David Scott's game story about Butler's 27-14 win).
On Butler's very first play, Zach rescued a wobbly throw by Riley for a long gain. On Butler's fourth play, Newsome called a clever double pass, which ended up with Zach throwing a 33-yard strike to a downfield receiver.
Butler scored on that first drive, which led Riley to start jubilantly celebrating with Deion Walker. Newsome ran up to the younger Ferguson then.
"You can't do that yet!" he screamed. "You can't do that yet!"
And the warning about premature celebration was well-founded. Mount Tabor would quickly score twice and take a 14-7 lead that was nearly 21-7 but for a goal-line stand by Butler.
Then Butler grabbed control of the game, though, helped by both Fergusons (and thhe superb Deion Walker, who scored three touchdowns). Newsome said Zach Ferguson will be a "dominant player" for Butler, and it's hard not to agree. The two remind me a little of Blair and Justin Hardin, the identical twins (who would eventually become coaches themselves) who starred for Kannapolis A.L. Brown close to a decade ago.
9 months ago